Social Media, ISIS, and Narcissism as Death Cults

Uploaded 12/6/2019, approx. 29 minute read

What's up, everybody? You're listening to Obsidian Radio, the voice of the everyday brother, and I am your host, Mumea Obsidian Ali. I am here, once again, with the eminent scholar and expert, worldwide renowned expert on malignant narcissism, Dr. Sam Vaknin.

Some of you may recall a year ago I had Dr. Vaknin on the show, and he has graciously agreed to come back on the show a year later for an update discussion.

Dr. Vaknin, how are you, sir?

Thank you for having me.

Thank you. All right, so last time we had you on the show, we had a rousing conversation kind of going all over the place.

I want to pick up where we left off.

Sure thing.

I saw some really great discussions you had with Mr. Richard Grannon of the UK, and y'all covered so many topics, but one in particular that really jumped out at me was your thoughts about social media.

We talked about this last time around. You had argued that social media was patterned on a particular type of personality, and that not only that, but that social media will foster more narcissism in the years ahead going forward.

In your discussion with Mr. Grannon, you had suggested that the one way to kind of curb this was the introduction of usage meters. So I wanted to know if you could just kind of, for our audience, kind of explain all of that.

Well I suggested a host of measures, usage meters was one of them, simply to limit the time you're allowed to use social media to prevent addiction and conditioning. You need to expose yourself wisely and sagely and not just to go wild and with the limited usage.

So usage meters. I also recommended to restrict the ability to friend people to real life acquaintances and real life friends, so that one is not flooded with strangers who pretend to be friends or are pseudonymously called friends, and so on.

So I suggested also an age restriction, so that usage is either restricted or abolished altogether under the age of 18. They've implemented this measure partially in France, where students are not allowed to bring devices, electronic devices, such as smartphones, and definitely not allowed to use social media in the classroom, all the way to the end of high school, or as they call it, lissé, up to the age of 18, and so on.

Social media is a potent drug, and exactly like alcohol, we should restrict this consumption. It's extremely simple. It creates conditioning. It creates addiction. It creates depression. The rates of depression have tripled among the vulnerable age groups, 15 to 25 and above the age of 65, and these are the heaviest users of social media.

Anxiety has quit-toupled, went up five times. Again, exactly within these two age groups, and these are the heaviest users of social media, and the only thing that has changed in the eight years of follow-up studies, the only parameter that has changed, absolutely the only one, is the usage of social media. All the rest remain the same. All the rest remains the same.

Level of income, everything else, remained utterly constant, and the only thing that has changed is social media, and suddenly we see a tripling of depression rates and a quintupling of anxiety rates, and not to mention a rise of 40% in suicides among teens.

Social media has adverse effects if it is used uncontrollably and immeasurably.

You had mentioned that the world wide web, everything associated with the internet, the only unique American aspect of it, because everything else was done overseas with regard to the internet, but you had noted that the only uniquely American contribution to the internet, as we understand it today in 2019, was social media.

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, all of these outfits were founded in the United States, and you had argued that that's very important to keep in mind on this question of social media and its connection to narcissism.

Could you elaborate a bit on that?

Yeah, I'm not quite sure why we are repeating the interview that we had done last time.

I will go along with you, but I would have thought it would be more interesting to explore other themes and topics.

We have gone through all this pretty thoroughly in the previous interview.

I want to call on our last discussion, Doctor, a specific discussion about social media being founded in the United States.

It was shocking to me when I listened back to our discussion and I listened to Grannon, you talked with Grannon. As an American, because neither one of you are Americans, but as an American, I really thought that that was fascinating because I sat back and said, you know, VACNA makes a really good point about the American way of doing things and that social media could be very unique about it.

The space is yours and the interview is yours, so I'll go along with you, but I think we have explored these topics pretty thoroughly in our previous conversation, yours and mine.

I would hate to waste time on rehashing the same thing, but it's entirely up to you.

Yes, you're right. The Internet was invented in the United States by DARPA, which is a department of defense agency. It was first leveraged by academic institutions, mainly universities.

Social media itself was also invented in a university. Zuckerberg was a student when he came up with the concept of Facebook and so on. So, it was an academic contraption coupled with the Department of Defense infrastructure, which is a pretty typical arrangement in the United States.

Academ, universities, institutions of high learning collaborate with the Department of Defense on various projects. This is an incestuous relationship, which is far less common in other democracies, but is actually common in dictatorships. For example, in the USSR and today in Russia, it's very common for institutions of higher learning and academic institutions to collaborate with the defense establishment.

Same thing happens in the United States, which raises an interesting question with regards to its alleged democratic features.

The Internet is no exception. It's a department of defense thing and it was leveraged by academia, but with the exception of its infrastructure, with the exception of social media, all the rest is pretty much foreign.

A lot of the features were invented in CERN, which is a research laboratory in Geneva, in Switzerland. Many features were invented by Israelis. That would include the firewall, for example, and many other things. Other features such as anti-virus and anti-malware were invented in Central Europe, etc.

So, we see a truly global collaboration on both the infrastructure and the features of the Internet. The only thing that is 100 percent unadulterated American invention and American contribution to the Internet and its nascent culture are indeed social media.

All social media, without a single exception, were invented in the United States. All of them, they are very strong American hallmarks and American attributes. So, they are, for example, advertising financed and sponsored. They are consumer-oriented. They include a feature of networking, which is a uniquely kind of American thing, and so on and so forth. So, it epitomizes, social media, epitomizes the American methods and strong elements of the American dream. And in this sense, they are totally and traditionally American, for better and for worse.

Of course, they propagate American mass culture. And in this sense, they are somewhat antisocial or asocial or even impersonal. That's ironic.

Sorry, go ahead.

No, no, no. I was agreeing with you. I mean, it makes a lot of sense.

While I got the mic here, let me just ask you this. I don't have any statistics in front of me, but I recall reading some time back that in the United States, among black Americans, we consume more media.

They were talking about TV, but since then, social media than any other group, in particular, black women, consume social media, Facebook and Instagram and that sort of thing, consume it at a much higher rate than everybody else.

And I want to ask you as an expert on narcissism, what would that mean for the black female psyche? If they're consuming 60 plus hours a week of television, social media, etc., to that higher rate, what would that do to the psyche in terms of narcissism with regard to black women?

And the reason why I ask you that is because it's a very common cultural trope in black American life to refer to each other as kings and queens. We're kings and queens and black women in particular really see themselves as regents, as royalty.

And I wanted to get your take on all of that.

Well, obviously social media reify elements of American civilization and there is such a thing as American civilization and it's highly narcissistic, bordering on psychopathic.

And so when you have an objective look at social media, you see, for example, that social media emphasize relative positioning, competitive, malignantly individualistic relative positioning, you compared to others, the feature of like, you know, likes on a post and so on and so forth, fosters competition, fosters pathological envy, um, conditioning and addiction are caked, caked in or built into the very software.

And that's because American culture is based on addictions and based on engendering and fostering addictions. And starting with opioids on the lower end and ending with binge binge watching of TV series, being binge eating, binge drinking and so on. So, American civilization is structured on addictive features, on competition on malignant individualism or narcissism or grandiosity and so on and so forth. It's all reflected in the structure and functioning of social media.

Normally social media would create a vicious cycle on the one hand, on the one end, it would enhance and reward narcissistic traits and behaviors. And on the other hand, it would attract people with narcissistic traits and behaviors to overuse it.

So it's, it creates silos, it creates closed, self sustained, self sufficient environments where narcissists both thrive and find instruments of gratification, leverage the technology to both thrive and enhance their narcissistic features on the one hand and to attract like minded narcissists.

So this is a swamp social media created, templates or petri dishes of narcissism and psychopathy.

Unfortunately, all of us have not all of us are narcissists to some degree. We all have healthy narcissism, self confidence, self esteem, our sense of self worth are regulated with healthy or via healthy narcissism.

And like every other healthy thing, when it is exposed or leveraged via technology in a highly specific and addictive way, it becomes malignant and pernicious.

It's exactly like we like exposing healthy cells to radiation. They become cancerous.

So minorities, for example, would be much more susceptible and amenable to such manipulation because minorities by definition are subjected to mistreatment by majorities. Therefore they develop inferiority complexes and they compensate for their sense of inferiority or they compensate for their mistreatment by aggrandizing themselves.

Grandiosity is a compensatory mechanism. So minorities would tend to leverage technologies to compensate for real life disadvantages or for real life discrimination or for real life underprivileging or for being the underdog and the outcast in real life societies.

In other words, minorities would tend to use, for example, social media as delusional enclaves within which they would create or propagate fantasy worlds in which they are superior, not inferior, in which they are perfect, brilliant, omnipotent and omniscient, where in reality they are exactly the opposite.

Don't forget that the false self in narcissism is a compensation, is a piece of fiction, a concoction intended to compensate for deficiencies in real life.

The child creates the false self because the child is powerless, helpless, abused, traumatized, doesn't, cannot predict the behavior of his abusers.

So all these are writ large with social media.

If you are a black female, you are bound to experience at least two types of, two sets of difficult circumstances. As a black person in a largely non-black society and as a woman in a still male dominated society, so you would wish to compensate for these two deficiencies or inferiority or you would wish to compensate for that by plugging into an environment which allows you to feel like a, how did you put it? Like a queen, an environment which would enhance your grandiosity.

That's right. A lot of black women see themselves as queens. I'm not you're not. They do. They see themselves as regal, as royalty. And they really, I mean, there's an entire, there's a big business here, professor Dr. Ranta. I call it the black love machine.

And that, and that, what I mean by that is there are people that cater to black women's sense of romance and, and love and swooning and all the rest of it. And they refer to these black women as queens and don't forget your crown and all that sort of thing. And I couldn't help but think of you when I was reviewing all the evidence, I said, you know, I gotta ask Batman about this.

This, this, I mean, just from a layman's point of view, if this eight malignant narcissism, the term has no meaning.

Well, I'm not quite sure you should limit this pertinent observation to black women.

Perhaps it's equally applies to all women.

The thing is that as I said before, narcissism is compensatory. It's very important to understand.

Grandiosity is compensatory. It compensates for something deficient or lacking in real life.

If in real life you're underprivileged, if in real life you're discriminated against, if in real life you're ruled over, dominate, dominated. If in real life you have to be submissive, you have to flatter people. You have to be obsequious. You have to, if, real life has dealt you a very bad hand, if you feel, if you feel inferior in real life and so on and so forth, what options do you have?

Well, the first option is to latch onto someone and be kind of be the moon to someone's son, a buskin, someone's reflected glory.

And this is what codependency do. This is what inverted narcissists do.

The second solution is to be passive aggressive, to undermine, subvert and sabotage the dominant culture and the majority by, you know, taking your time, procrastinating, refusing to do things, sabotaging things and so on and so forth. That's passive aggression.

We have that a lot in government bureaucracies and, and so on. Really?

And the third solution is to pretend to lie to yourself, to create a fantasy, a delusional, a delusional world where you are not the underdog, where you are not the minority, where you are not the one discriminated against and outcast and, but where you are the queen, you are the king, you are the rule maker, not the rule taker. You are, you know, you're superior, you're brilliant, you're perfect. You are, you know, everything omniscient, you know, you are all powerful. You're God-like, you're God-like.

The narcissism is a religion. It's a religion. It's a cult with one worshiper. That's the narcissist and one God. That's also the narcissist.

So, the narcissist worships.

How are you going to be, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you, but it just fascinate me. How can you be the worshiper and the deity at the same time?

Well, if you realize your own divinity, what would prevent you from worshipping yourself?

I mean, we all do this to some extent.

What is self-promotion? What is brand me? That's saying, that's saying I'm special. I'm unique. I'm endowed. I have been bestowed with gifts and talents and skills that I wish you to partake of.

We all, we all to some extent worship ourselves. We all create these mini teeny tiny altars and we kneel, we kneel in front of them and so on. We all partake in a communion. We are all a little, a little Jesus in some way.

And so it's this, this is a civilizational shift, a tectonic shift. We used to worship external things. We used to worship deities in pagan days. We used to worship God.

When we became monotheistic, God was still external to us in many ways, not in all ways, but in many ways.

But that was the transition where God was external to us, but also inside us.

And then we said, why do we need this guy? You know, why do we need God? We are God.

And this is the age we live in. We got rid of extraneous divinities, extraneous deities.

And we became God-like, we became gods. And I say that narcissism is the first distributed religion.

It's a religion where each person is a God in a network. It's a networked religion. It's like distributed denial of service attack. It's like there are, there are as many gods as there are people. Each one of us is a God. Each one of us is a node in a network and we all worship ourselves.

And so it's a one member, one worshiper, one god, one god cult.

That's how we ended. We have distributed everything else.

The network metaphor, we are using the network metaphor to explain everything. You have neural networks to explain the brain. You have computer networks to explain our processing capabilities.

And now you have theological networks. You have distributed God, where God used to be a unity. Now God is a distributed network and it's been an inexorable process and the internet just reifies it, just embodies this perception.

And today everyone is as wise as Wikipedia, or at least as knowledgeable as Wikipedia, and everyone has access to everything. And everyone in his home is totally and utterly self-sufficient.

We all receded and regressed to solipsistic spaceships. It's all atomized. All the institutions that used to unify us and put us together, starting with God and his church, but also the family, the community, the nation, it's all disintegrating in front of our very eyes.

The family is long dead. Community is a long dead. I don't need to tell you that as a black man.

And now dyads, couples are dying. And the last thing to die in front of our eyes is the nation state.

So it's all dying. We don't need anyone. We don't need others anymore. That's the truth.

I can sit alone at home from cradle to grave and never ever see anyone, never ever need anyone, never ever do anything with anyone and still live a long and productive life.


Well, that's what's going on right now in Japan.

And you got people, they're talking about it. I don't know the Japanese phrase, but there are Japanese people that are, you know, basically dying alone is what it amounts to.

And they basically would even ask to, or they collect the bodies to tell you the truth. They go there. The body's been there for, you know, a few days, you know, cause the only way you find out somebody died is if you smell them, to tell you the truth and they come in, collect the body and clean out the place.

And I mean, wow. I think a great proxy, a great test of our growing isolation and solipsism, self sufficiency and self sustainability, and our declining need for one another and consequently are declining cooperation and collaboration on a species wide level, I would say a great yardstick of this, a great benchmark of this is sex, of course, because it's sex embodies both intimacy and the ultimate connectedness. We enter each other's bodies. Nothing more than that.

So look at sex dating among teenagers has declined by 56% in the past eight years, not 800 years in eight years. Dating has declined by 56% in the age group 15 to 25.

These are studies by Twenge and Campbell. Those of you who want to look it up. Yeah. Sex has completely been wiped off the map at least 12, the meaningful sex.

So we have teenagers in Japan and the United Kingdom who do not count sex as an important activity. So they list the five important things in their lives and they don't mention the opposite sex at all or any sex.

Wow. At all.

Um, 21% of all couples in the world, couples, official couples, cohabiting or married 21% are sexless couples. Procreation has literally collapsed in 80% of all industrialized societies, 80% of all industrialized societies.

The population is declining.

I was reading something about a South Korea. They said South Korea is like ground zero for all of this.

Well, South Korea is not the worst of them actually.


So procreation, making new life and sex are literally vanishing. What has replaced it is the hookup culture.

So people are having much less sex by way of frequency and utterly meaningless sex by way of intimacy. And they don't get married. They don't procreate. They don't create new life. They don't make children.

And they have lost all interests in dating and sex in the crucial age group, which is 15 to 25.

Right. I think losing interest in sex, losing interest in making a family and losing interest in having children is tantamount to losing interest in life itself.

Wow. I think we have become a fanatic civilization.

Fanatic means fanatis was the God of death. And, and Freud coined the word fanatic.

Freud suggested that we have two forces in life. Libido, which is a force of life, not the force of sex, as most people mistakenly believe, but the force of life and fanatis, which is the force of death.

And he predicted long ago, well over a hundred years ago, he predicted that we are going to end up in fanatic civilizations, a civilization which elevates death above life, a civilization which is much more interested in material goods than in people, a civilization that sacrifices intimacy and meaningful relationships in favor of objectifying others bodies, objectifying others, and then ultimately objectifying ourselves regarding ourselves as a kind of raw material which we can experiment with or, you know.

So that's how we ended up. We ended up in a civilization where death rules, life is extinct in the literal sense of the word.

More than one million species went extinct in the last 10 years alone. Wow. And the planet is dying. We are all, we are all, we are all, we have all become a death count, a giant death count.

Where do you think the likes of ISIS come from? ISIS was a global phenomenon, not a Muslim phenomenon.

For everybody listening, he means the Islamic State, that ISIS.

Yes, sorry, ISIS, the Islamic State.


Where do you, the caliphate, where do you think they came from?

There was not a Muslim phenomenon as the West liked to depict it. It was a global phenomenon.

There were the members of ISIS, the ultimate death count. The members of ISIS came from 43 countries, the bulk of which were Western countries. There were more British members of ISIS than, for example, Palestinian members.

So hang on, hang on, hang on. Let me stop you right there.

So you're telling me that there were more, if you will, Islam is a polyglot type of deal, but just work with me here. You're telling me that the Islamic State recruited more, for lack of a better way of putting this, non-Arab, non-Muslim people from the West than they did from within the Arab Middle East.

Yes, of course. Absolutely. There were more people from Europe, I mean, the majority of ISIS were Europeans, actually.

Starting with Kosovars, Albanians, British people, Germans, Swedes, you name it. Yes, they were all Muslims in the technical sense.

The religion was Muslim. But it was actually a death count. They happened to be Muslim, and most Muslim scholars or Islamic scholars would tell you that their interpretation of Islam was, how to put it, gently dubious.

The emphasis was not on Islam, per se. The emphasis was on domination. The emphasis was, it was a millenarian cult. It was a cult which had to do much more with Doomsday, with Armageddon.

I mean, they were, in this sense, the equivalent of some Christian death cults.

Heaven's Gate and all that sort of thing.

Yeah, they were a Muslim Jim Jones rendition.

Yeah, I was just about to say thank you. Jim Jones and what's the other guy? David Koresh and all these people.

Yeah, exactly.

They were millenarian people. They were concerned with the end of days. They were concerned with our Malahad.

They are the owner of Malahad. It's supposed to be on a plane in Iraq.

Now, while you're talking about the Islamic State, my understanding about the Islamic State, you make a really good point.

My understanding about the Islamic State, they made extensive use of social media. That's my understanding of it.

What am I saying? What have I spent the last 40 minutes saying?

That's right. We are enmeshed. We are a death-oriented civilization.

We are fanatic civilization and phenomena like social media and like ISIS are intimately connected.

It's no wonder that death cults like ISIS make use or leverage social media to enhance their membership and to recruit because they are inherently not dissimilar.

They are inherently similar. They share many common features. In many senses, in many respects, social media is what Guy Debord, there was a famous sociologist, post-Marxist sociologist. His name was Guy Debord. Guy Debord. In 1968, he wrote a masterpiece called The Society of the Spectacle. He predicted that we will end up with a society that is all about appearances and de-emphasizes substance, de-emphasizes human relationships, de-emphasizes intimacy, real connectedness. Everything will be about how do I look, how do I appear.

Of course, think about funeral services. What does a mortician do? What is a mortician concerned with? What do funeral houses emphasize? The appearance of the corpse.

It's more about cosmetology. They deal with cosmetics, the cosmetics of the coffin, the appearance of the dead body.

It's all about how do I look. It's all dead.

We are living in a giant cemetery.

In black America, you talked about the funeral home and all the rest of it. It's a common thing to say in black America. You lay the body out and you go there and you review it and somebody will say, she do look natural.

Simulacra. Simulacra.

Simulations of nature.

We measure nature now by how close it is to the simulation. The simulation has become the dominant metaphor. Nature is just the simulation of the simulation. If nature doesn't measure up, we discard nature. Nature is life. It is the force of life. We have discarded life and we have chosen death. We have all become an enormous death cult with death-related rituals and of course narcissism and psychopathy are on the rise because what is narcissism?

What does the narcissist do?

The first act of narcissism is to kill the true self.

Narcissism is a post-suicidal state. It's a post-traumatic condition which involves suicide.

The narcissist doesn't have the balls to kill himself but he kills his essence. He kills his true self and instead he creates a fake apparition, a ghost, a rendition, a script, a simulacrum. He creates the false self. By definition, it's false.

The narcissist chooses death.

Narcissism is about dying and reappearing as a piece of fiction. It is not an accident that the president of Ukraine is an actor. The president of the United States is an actor. It's not an accident because we have chosen simulation over life. We have chosen reality TV over reality and we have chosen narcissism over the truth.

Narcissism is the negation of the truth. It's the vitiation of the truth. The Bible is right about this.

In Mark, there is a prophecy how the day will come when people will choose falsity over the truth. That is narcissism.

Narcissists are false creatures. They are not real. They are not real. That's why we feel so uncomfortable around narcissists. We feel that something's wrong.

There was a roboticist, a Japanese roboticist in 1970, and he coined the phrase uncanny valley. He said that when robots will become human-like, humanoids, when they will become indistinguishable from humans, we will begin to feel very uncomfortable around them.

Not because they don't look like humans, but because they would look like humans. He said the closer robots will be to humans, the more uncomfortable we're going to feel. He described it as the uncanny valley. We will feel uncanny.

Today, we have robots among us. We already have humanoids. We already have androids. One of them is at the White House. They are called narcissists. They are forms of alien intelligence. They are forms of artificial intelligence because they are intelligent and they are artificial.

Narcissists are their own gods because they had invented and created themselves. Narcissists don't have a creator. They are their own creators.

That's why narcissism is a religion. The narcissist can worship himself because he is his own creator. The narcissist creates the false self, and there is nothing to the narcissist but the false self. The true self, the core, the core, dilapidated, head dwindled, ossified, and died.

Narcissism is like a neutron star. There is a dead core, and around it, a halo. This halo, this piece of fiction, is the narcissist.

Please go ahead.

Let me ask you a question because you said that the death angle, how do you see the abortion fight in the United States? Do you see that as part and parcel of this whole narcissistic impulse and push?

Well, it's not surprising that in a society centered around death and dead objects, because a car is a dead object, a smartphone is a dead object, and people invest much more emotionally in their smartphones than in their spouses or in their children.

A very telling statistic is that people spend more time on social media than they do with their children.

You see, we're invested in the dead and the inanimate. It is inevitable and totally predictable that in a society so centered around death, issues of life and death would become the core central issues.

Abortion has never been an issue. If you go back to the 17th century, 18th century, even 19th century, no one talked about abortion. Abortions were very common, but no one ever discussed them. They were not an issue.

Abortions become an issue, and not only abortions, but for example, euthanasia, mercy killing, assisted suicide.

Right to die and all that.

Right to die. All these are new issues, post 1950.

Why? Why?

Because we have chosen death, and now we don't know anymore what is the border between life and death, what's the boundary. We feel that we had crossed it, and we are very anxious about it.

We live in a dead society surrounded by dead objects and the inanimate, and we know that something is bloody wrong. We are anxious. We have angst, as Sartre called it, as the existentialist called it. We have angst because we know we did, we took a wrong turn. We know we took a wrong turn, and we found ourselves stuck in the twilight zone, and we all know that.

So we are very preoccupied with the question, where did we take the wrong turn? What's the boundary between life and death? How can we go back, if at all? Are we doomed?

And abortion is a part of that. Part of that debate.

You know, I don't know if you're aware of this or not, but here in the United States, I don't know about other countries, but here in the United States, black women get more abortions than anybody else. I don't know what connection, if any, that has to what you're saying here.

I just want to toss that fact out there. Black women, as a percentage of all the abortions, get more than anybody else.

Well, abortion is also intimately connected, of course, to economic circumstances. So minorities tend to earn much less, have much less access to health care, and so on and so forth. So this probably is correlated with socioeconomic conditions.

But again, we are coming in a circular fashion to the same issue, actually.

Because why is our economy structured this way? Our economy is not people-centered. Our economy is not community-centered. Our economy is object-centered. It's consumption-centered. It's an economy constructed upon death, the inanimate. It's an economy that sacrifices humans to the machine, to the monarch of growth, economic growth.

Our economy reflects our values and our philosophy, and our values and philosophy reflect our conviction that objects are more important than people, that death is preferable to life, that fake it is more important than make it.

I wanted to ask your opinion. I didn't get a chance to do this the last time around.

But Dr. Vaknin, at the risk of inflating your head even more, you're hell of a scholar, hell of a public intellectual. I spend a lot of time reading other public intellectuals. I know you know these names, Jonathan Haidt, Steven Pinker, and of course, Dr. Jordan Peterson.

I wanted to get your take of what you do.

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Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the historical process of the transition from nature to the metaverse, and how it has led to the rise of narcissism and other mental health disorders. He explains that the move from agriculture to cities led to the loss of non-narcissistic traits and behaviors, and the rise of competitiveness, ambition, and lack of empathy. The transition from cities to the metaverse will have much worse outcomes, as cyberspace is solipsistic, self-centered, and aggressive, leading to a transition from narcissism to psychopathy. Ultimately, Vaknin argues that cities and the metaverse have been and will be unmitigated disasters for human psychology and the environment.

Internet: Heavenly Narcissism Factory (Convo with Guy Sengstock)

Sam Vaknin discusses the profound impact of society and technology on the individual, suggesting that the internet and social media have led to a societal shift where people have chosen the world over the self, resulting in a form of collective narcissism. He argues that technology has become a substitute for essence, and that cyberspace is akin to a digital Platonic cave. Vaknin also touches on the idea that humans and computers are both universal machines, capable of unfurling numerous future potentialities. He suggests that the internet has become a realm where people defend their essence rather than just appearances, and that this has led to a loss of individuality and an increase in narcissistic behavior. Vaknin also discusses the concept of malignant egalitarianism, where technology and democracy have been co-opted by the masses as tools of empowerment and rebellion against the elites who created them. He concludes that in a civilization that celebrates the inanimate over the animate, one must become "dead" inside to succeed, and that this has led to a loss of hope and the ability to become, as all life and functionality are outsourced to others.

Internet: The Narcissist's Hunting Haunt and Playground (Gazeta Polska)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the relationship between social media and narcissism, arguing that social media platforms were designed to be addictive and encourage aggression. He explains that the need to be seen is a natural human need, but it can become malignant and pathological when people become addicted to external feedback that lacks information. Vaknin also shares his own approach to using social media in a non-narcissistic way, which involves disseminating only information and eliminating any comments that have a personal angle. Finally, he argues that social media was never meant to be used for personal communication, and that it can be deleterious and dangerous to personal interaction.

Warning Young Folks: Silence When We Are All Gone

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses his concerns about the younger generation, noting their lack of emotions, meaningful relationships, and intellectual pursuits. He believes that the focus on action over emotion and cognition is leading to a culture of nihilism and disconnection. Vaknin argues that positive emotions should drive actions, as negative emotions lead to destructive outcomes. He concludes that the current state of the younger generation is a mental suicide, and that a shift in focus towards emotions, cognition, and meaningful connections is necessary for a better future.

Back to the Future: Spectacle of Narcissism, Spectre of Psychopathy (Convo with Alex Kazemi)

Sam Vaknin discusses the dangers of social media culture, the shift from narcissism to psychopathy in society, and the current state of gender and sexuality. He argues that the prevalence of screens has led to isolation and atomization, forcing individuals to be self-sufficient and cutting them off from empathy. Vaknin also believes that privacy is a modern invention and that the less private we are, the better off we feel psychologically. He predicts that a totally psychopathic civilization is on the horizon and that elites want to make everyone a slave, not because they are evil, but because it is in their self-interest.

Narcissist’s Rant: I Want to Go Home

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the negative impact of narcissism on society, stating that as the world becomes more narcissistic, it becomes more difficult for narcissists to thrive. He argues that the world is becoming increasingly grandiose, malignant, and psychopathic, with women becoming more narcissistic and psychopathic than men. Vaknin also highlights the decline of relationships, the rise of entitlement, and the increasing atomization of society. He concludes by expressing his discomfort with the current state of the world and his desire to "go home."

Fight Narcissism – Or Channel It? (IAI.TV)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the rise of narcissism and suggests that it is comparable to climate change and the shift in gender roles. He proposes that we harness the energy of narcissism and channel it in socially acceptable ways, sublimated. He also suggests that we put in place checks, balances, and institutions to prevent the more destructive, insidious, and pernicious outcomes and aspects of narcissism. Finally, he warns that narcissism is a form of religion and that it is aggressive, intolerant, and dysempathic, and can result in self-defeat and self-destruction.

Gurus, Geniuses, Mystics: Madmen and Con-artists

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the rise of narcissism and grandiosity in society, fueled by self-proclaimed gurus, life coaches, and mystics who prey on people's insecurities and desires for success. He argues that the education system and social media have contributed to the belief that everyone is special and unique, leading to a generation of underachievers with unrealistic expectations. Vaknin also touches on the challenges faced by child prodigies as they grow up, often becoming narcissistic and struggling to maintain their achievements. In summary, Vaknin believes that society is heading towards a narcissistic and psychopathic civilization where appearance and self-promotion matter more than knowledge and genuine accomplishment.

Transcripts Copyright © Sam Vaknin 2010-2024, under license to William DeGraaf
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